Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Search
Follow The Annenberg Learner on LinkedIn Follow The Annenberg Learner on Facebook Follow Annenberg Learner on Twitter
MENU

7 / Domestic Life

The Orchard (also called The Seasons)
The Orchard (also called The Seasons)
Artist / Origin William Morris (British, English, 1834–1896) and John Henry Dearle (British, 1860–1932) (designers)
Region: Europe
Date ca. 1890
Material Tapestry woven in wool, silk and mohair on a cotton warp
Dimensions H: 7 ¼ ft. (2.21 m.), W: 15 ½ in. (4.72 m.)
Location Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Credit Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London/Art Resource, NY

expert perspective

Sarah D. CoffinCurator of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Decorative Arts, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

The Orchard (also called The Seasons)

» William Morris (British, English, 1834–1896) and John Henry Dearle (British, 1860–1932) (designers)

expert perspective

Sarah D. Coffin Sarah D. Coffin Curator of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Decorative Arts, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

The Arts and Crafts movement started in England in the 1830s and ’40s, and moved on through William Morris to the late nineteenth century, both in England and in the United States, as well as having influence all over the place. This particular group that centered around William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite painters felt that truth was important in their mission. The reaction is against the Industrial Age and the proliferation of cheaply made and not necessarily well-designed objects. There was a strong moralistic streak to this. There was a sense that the Industrial Revolution seemed to be degrading life and that morality was in fact very much on the wane. They had a very grand notion that design impacts everybody’s life every day, and that uninspired, bad design denigrates quality of life. Also the inspiration for this movement in the 1830s—this is when you have Byron and Shelley and the Romantic poets. Morris himself was actually better known in his day as a philosopher and as a poet. And it was only in the later nineteenth century that we think of him more in terms of his designs.

Morris was basically a socialist who wanted good design for all people. But, of course, the cost of hand producing things was high. And therefore, the only way to really enable large numbers of people to have this was to do the style of the hand-crafted, but not necessarily hand-crafted throughout. It really came to William Morris to pinpoint it in terms of furnishings and in his case he was probably most successful in his designs for wall coverings, wallpapers, and textiles.” 

back

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy